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    Q&A USFWS Facilities Relocation Design Studies 2024

    Environmental Assessment Survey USFWS Infographic

    Photo By Maj. Diann Rosenfeld | Headquarters Marine Corps is developing an Environmental Assessment to analyze the...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Diann Rosenfeld 

    Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz

    The purpose of this document is to provide additional details for survey activities associated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Facilities Relocation Design Studies.

    Questions and answers were complied by Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz (MCBCB), Communication Strategy and Operations (COMMSTRAT) Section and are attributable to Camp Blaz or Maj. Diann Rosenfeld, MCBCB COMMSTRAT director.

    Q. What is happening?
    A. Headquarters Marine Corps is developing an Environmental Assessment to analyze the potential environmental effects of the proposed construction of replacement facilities, infrastructure, and access on the Refuge. Three distinct surveys are planned from the end of March to the fall of 2024 to help inform the Environmental Assessment. The surveys are topographic, hazardous materials, and geotechnical.

    Q. Why are the surveys happening?
    A. The existing USFWS facility at the Ritidian unit of the GNWR is located within the new safety buffer area created by the multi-purpose machine gun range on the Live Fire Training Range Complex. In accordance with previous laws and agreements, the Department of the Navy will relocate the existing Department of Interior facilities outside of the safety buffer area but still within the Refuge.

    More Information: The safety buffer area from the Live Fire Training Range Complex, Multi-Purpose Machine Gun Range overlays a portion of the Refuge. The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the establishment of the safety buffer area over a portion of the Refuge and required the Secretaries of the DOI and DON to enter into an agreement to establish and operate this safety buffer area over the Refuge. Pursuant to this authorization, in 2020 the DOI and DON signed a Memorandum of Agreement that, among other commitments, required the DON to relocate the existing DOI facilities outside of the safety buffer area but still within the Refuge.

    Q. Where are the surveys taking place?
    A. The topographic surveys are taking place along Highway 3A, Urunao Road, the vegetation between Urunao Road and the cliff line, the Recreational Access Road, and Jeep Trail.

    The hazardous materials surveys are taking place around Refuge existing infrastructure to include: the visitor center and parking lot; Fish and Wildlife administration building, parking lot, maintenance shop, and nursery; and the guard shacks.

    The geotechnical surveys will be conducted on the Jeep Trail, Urunao Road, the vegetation between Urunao Road and the cliff line.

    Q. When are they surveys taking place?
    A. The surveys will begin at the end of March 2024 and should be concluded by the fall of 2024.

    Q. What is a geotechnical survey?
    A. A geotechnical survey is a process of collecting and analyzing information about the soils and rocks of a site. It is done by geotechnical engineers and geologists for the purpose of designing earthworks and foundations for structures. A geotechnical survey involves boring, sampling, testing and reporting on the soil consistency and structure, groundwater level and other physical characteristics of the land.

    Q. Why do the surveys require land clearing?
    A. Soil boring activity is a technique that uses a drilling rig mounted on a small, motorized track carrier to investigate and determine soil composition and conditions at a site where construction is planned. The drill rig is small and lighter than a personal vehicle. In addition to the drill rig, clearing work will use an excavator to cut trees and brush from the path resulting in a 12-foot-wide path. For this project there are 23 borings planned with depths between 10 to 100 feet.

    Q. What is a topographic survey?
    A. The topographic survey is required to locate surface features and depict natural features, existing utilities, structures, roads, and elevations.

    Q. What kinds of hazardous materials do you expect to find during the hazardous materials survey?
    A. To our knowledge, no previous hazardous materials surveys have been conducted at the existing facility. Due to the age of the buildings, there is a likelihood that hazardous building materials may be present on/in the existing buildings and structures onsite. The hazardous materials survey will be conducted on and in the existing buildings to assess the presence and extent of potentially hazardous materials that could pose exposure hazard potentials, if uncontrolled, to site workers involved in demolition activities.

    Q. What protections are in place for cultural resources?
    A. Archaeological monitors will be on site during all topographic and geotechnical surveying. Archaeological monitoring will be conducted by a qualified archaeologist who will provide visual inspection of soil and sediments and be present during ground disturbing work.
    The monitors will assist the geotechnical and topographic investigations to avoid any previously identified archaeological assets/sites. Monitors will record subsurface stratigraphy, any new cultural deposits and archaeological features.
    Vibrations from the drilling will not impact nearby caves. The borehole is 4-inch diameter maximum and vibration form the drilling extends only a few feet away from the borehole.

    Q. What protections are in place for natural resources?
    A. A qualified biologist will conduct natural resources monitoring. The biologist will delineate and flag all investigation areas that will disturb or modify vegetation. The biologist will monitor the investigation to ensure field crews stay within the delineated area, and that any threatened/endangered species are avoided by at least 4 to 8 feet. Additionally, the qualified biologist will conduct a fruit bat survey prior to commencing fieldwork each day.

    Q. When was this project announced to the public?
    A. A Programmatic Agreement memo was submitted to the State Historic Preservation Officer and posted for public comment last year. The public comment period was April 27 to June 12, 2023. No comments were received within the prescribed comment period.
    Link -

    Q. When will the public have access to the Environmental Assessment?
    A. The results from these surveys will inform the Environmental Assessment. We anticipate the Environmental Assessment to be released this summer.



    Date Taken: 03.21.2024
    Date Posted: 03.20.2024 22:41
    Story ID: 466707
    Location: YIGO, GU

    Web Views: 133
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